‘I’d never planned on stealing someone else’s life.’
After finding out who her Grandmother wants her to marry, Elizabeth is determined to try and find a way out. When her new to-be relatives start making them dismiss servants, Elizabeth’s handmaiden, Ada or Adelaide, gets an offer to join The Glittering Court, which she accepts only to regret doing it. Elizabeth takes her place and becomes Adelaide. From there on out, she undertakes classes and tests to become a ‘high-end lady’ along with other impoverished ladies. Except that she was heir to a title. Eventually, the girls travel to the newly colonised country where they are to find husbands, but Adelaide is starting to have feelings for Cedric, the son of the owner of the Court. A forbidden romance is stirring and warning bells of the threatening kind are pealing all around them.
This book reminds me a bit of a lot of things. The Simircian Refugees remind me a lot of the current Refugee Crisis. The colonised continent reminds me of both Africa and America. I am really quite happy about the parallels between the refugee crisis’, because it serves to illustrate some of the abominable things that happen to refugees, even when they have supposedly found safety. As one of the main supporting characters is one such refugee, it also creates sympathy for that character as she faces the hardships being Simircian brings. This all serves to create awareness for the issues we are facing today, if one cares to connect the two.
There were two things I didn’t like about this book, that knocked its rating down from 5 stars to 4.5 stars. The first thing is the beginning. I didn’t really like the beginning. My dislike was most potent at the very start and then declined steadily until about halfway through the book. There were quite a lot of tropes, I suppose, but ones that I typically enjoy. I can’t really pinpoint exactly what it was and I didn’t not like it, it just wasn’t as good as the second half of the novel, which is why I’m not knocking it down a whole star. The other thing was the character development, especially of Tamsin and Mira, the two supporting characters. If I understand correctly, they will each get a book of their own, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want more development of their characters in this book. They weren’t underdeveloped, perse, but I did want to know more about them. I really hope Richelle Mead does these two characters justice in the next books, as they really are very good supporting roles and would make excellent main characters, as well.
As a side note I just wanted to mention that most people who liked Richelle Mead prior to this think it was worse than the Vampire Academy, but much better than Soundless. I haven’t personally read Soundless, but I much preferred this to Vampire Academy. Granted I only read the first book, but I found it too tropey, I didn’t really like any of the characters and maybe I was just a little bit over the angsty drama vampire thing by that point. In any case, I liked this a lot more. Warning: It does not contain fae, a misconception I and many others have had.
And that is all! I really recommend this book to anyone who finds the synopsis interesting or intriguing, as well as lovers of The Selection (it explores a somewhat similar concept, but entirely differently… and more successfully in my opinion).